Asana for Operations teams

Operations teams can rely on Asana to build, scale, and streamline their projects and processes. This article is for teams already familiar with Asana project basics who are trying to get more efficient and try paid features. Use the jumplinks above to skip to specific use cases or get started with general tips below.

If you’re new to Asana projects, start with an operations project template to get an idea of how to organize them. Or import a spreadsheet where you’re already planning operations work to map the project into Asana quickly.

General tips for operations projects

These tips are helpful across various types of operations projects to help you manage project plans, timelines, status updates, and priorities more easily.

Manage and monitor groups of projects, timelines, and team bandwidth with Portfolios

GIF of operations team projects listed by status in an Asana Portfolio, then displayed on a timeline, before switching to Workload to see employee bandwidth

  • Portfolios help you monitor the status of groups of projects to understand where your attention is needed. For example, you could create a portfolio of all software implementations to monitor how they’re going.
  • Make sure project managers and leads post regular status updates so they show up in the portfolio.
  • If you want to see project schedules on a timeline, add them to a Portfolio, then use the Timeline tab to make sure they don’t overlap. You can also use it as your master operations calendar for the quarter or year.
  • Manage team bandwidth and make informed staffing decisions by adding your team’s active projects to a Portfolio, then heading to the Workload tab to see schedules.

Prioritize and organize tasks

GIF of setting a dependent task’s priority custom field to high, then sorting an operations project in Asana by priority custom fields to see highest priority tasks on top

  • Custom fields help you capture information consistently on each task with drop-down, numeric, or text fields. For example you could create fields to track task progress, cost, or priority.
  • Sort projects by custom fields to group tasks by a field (like ordering a column in a spreadsheet) or use fields to create reports that help you see what might be at risk.
  • Dependencies ensure tasks get worked on in the correct sequence so nobody jumps ahead or keeps wondering when they can start on their part.
  • Set rules in any project to automate work for you. For example, you could have a rule to help prioritize new tasks added to an operations request project or to add followers when a task reaches a certain stage.

Tips for project proposal or request projects

Does your operations team receive lots of requests, questions, and proposals for work from other teams? These tips help you move requests along faster by starting with all the details up front and streamlining final approvals.

GRAPHIC of the process a work request can follow in Asana from start to finish

  • Standardize requests with forms. Instead of going back and forth about a request and its requirements, create a form that anyone can fill out so your team has the right details.
  • Protect your team’s time by assigning requests to teammates with due dates and setting a priority custom field only when the task is prioritized. Then your team won’t get bombarded by any random question or request that comes their way or be confused about how to prioritize it with other work.

Tips for onboarding vendors

If your operations team is responsible for selecting or onboarding a new vendor, they can run everything from vendor approval to rollout in Asana. Here’s how:

GRAPHIC of the process vendor onboarding can follow in Asana from start to finish

IMAGE of Asana for Gmail integration

Tips for objectives planning

Operations teams are often responsible for planning team or company objectives and goals. Make cross-functional planning easier with this objectives planning flow, whether quarterly or annually.

GRAPHIC of the process team or company objectives can follow in Asana from start to finish

  • Save time with templates. Goals and objectives are typically set at regular intervals. Get started quickly with all the steps you need with an Asana-created template or by saving your own custom template.
  • Make approvals clear and streamlined by creating an approval task. The approver can leave any feedback on the task. Once complete, you have a clear record of whether it’s approved (or not) and why.
  • Once you’ve set your objectives, create a Portfolio where you can track the major projects contributing to the objectives to see progress and timelines. Make sure project managers and team leads provide regular status updates towards the objectives they’re responsible for.

GIF demonstrating how to approve an Asana task

How to create an approval task in Asana.

More resources for operations teams

More of a visual learner? Want to see how our customers streamline their operations with Asana? Check out these resources:

Resources Link
Operations team templates See all operations templates
Video tutorial Watch How to Asana
Case study Read how Epitaph Records, Barfoot & Thompson and Morning Coworking manage operations with Asana
Connect with Community Attend an upcoming training or start a thread on our community forum 

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Asana Lessons

Learn the Asana basics in less than 15 minutes with these quick lessons

Tasks

Tasks Lessons

Track all of your work

3 Minutes

My Tasks

My Tasks Lessons

Always know what to do next

3 Minutes

Projects

Projects Lessons

Work with teammates

3 Minutes

Inbox

Inbox Lessons

Communicate even faster

3 Minutes

You can use tasks to track, collaborate on, and organize all your work.

Tasks can be to-dos, ideas, notes, or reminders.

Assign a task to yourself or a teammate.

Press Tab+M to quickly assign a task to yourself.

Add a due date so your deadline is clear.

Add instructions and expectations in the task description field.

Type @ to link to other tasks, people, conversations, or projects.

When you @mention someone, they’ll be added to your task as a follower.

Followers get notified when new comments or attachments are added.

Add anyone who needs to stay up to date on your task as a follower.

They can always unfollow to stop getting notifications on your task.

Add comments to ask questions or give followers updates.

Heart a comment to let followers know you’ve seen it.

Add relevant files or irrelevant GIFs as attachments.

You can also attach directly from Dropbox, Google Drive, or Box.

Create subtasks to break your task into smaller steps.

When you’ve added a subtask, press enter to add another.

Subtasks can contain all the same details as regular tasks.

Click the comment bubble to add comments or attachments to a subtask.

You can create tasks from any screen using your top bar.

Every Task has a unique URL to easily copy and share.

Congrats! Looks like you’re up to the task.

On to the next lesson!

Always know what to do next with My Tasks.

My Tasks is a list of every task assigned to you.

It makes managing your work simple.

Click on your My Tasks list and start typing to add tasks.

Like a text document, add a new line for each new task or paste in any list.

Forward to x@mail.asana.com to turn your emails into tasks.

Asana will translate your email into a task, including your attachments.

New tasks will appear at the top of your list in Recently Assigned.

Tasks you add to My Tasks are private to you.

Click Make Public to share them with your team.

Prioritize tasks as Today, Upcoming, or Later.

Click on the blue dot next to the task, to quickly sort it.

Mark the tasks you’ll have time for Today.

Teammates can view your My Tasks list to see what you’re up to.

They’ll only see tasks you’ve made public or shared in a project (more on projects later).

Mark tasks due within a week as Upcoming so you can see what will be due soon.

On its due date, your task will move from Upcoming to Today.

Just like magic.

Mark tasks due in more than a week for Later.

They’ll be out of your way until their due date approaches.

Your tasks will move from Later to Upcoming a week before they’re due.

Keep My Tasks prioritized to always know what to work on and what’s coming next.

Now you know how to track and plan your work!

Next, learn how to work with your team in Asana.

Work together on groups of tasks with projects.

Projects help you track and organize the steps in a process or initiative.

Like an event plan, product launch, or editorial calendar.

Like My Tasks, simply click and type to add tasks to your project.

If you have your steps in a document or email already, paste in that list.

Add tasks to your project from email.

View your project’s unique email address from the project dropdown menu.

Add your tasks to other related projects.

Tasks can be included in multiple projects.

Add sections to organize tasks in a list project.

Type Tab+N in any task row to create a new section.

Or, add columns to organize tasks in a boards project.

Drag and drop tasks between or within columns to reorder.

Assign your tasks and set due dates.

Never miss a deadline with your project calendar.

Drag and drop tasks on your calendar to change their due dates.

Add everyone who needs to stay updated on your project as members.

Project members will get notified of new conversations, statuses, and tasks.

Post conversations to make announcements or start discussions.

Your post will be sent to all project members.

Use Progress to see how your project is moving forward.

Set a project status to update your team on how it’s going.

The Project Owner will be reminded to set a status once a week.

Open and organize projects from your sidebar.

Favorite projects to pin them to the top of your sidebar.

Click the star button on the left of your project name to favorite it.

Create new projects from any screen using your top bar.

Now you can move projects forward with your team.

Just one more lesson before you dive in.

Communicate and coordinate faster with Inbox.

Check Inbox to quickly read and respond to your latest updates.

Inbox will notify you when you have a task due…

and when teammates update tasks, conversations, and projects you follow.

Open and respond to updates without leaving Inbox.

Click an update and you’ll have all the context you need to respond.

Archive updates you’re ready to dismiss.

Click the X that appears on the right of an update to archive it.

Open Archive to move dismissed updates back to your Inbox.

Click the arrow that appears on the right of an archived update to move it back to Inbox.

Unfollow tasks or projects to stop receiving updates about them.

In the end, you have control over the updates you receive (or choose not to receive)

When you’re ready, you can turn Asana’s Email notifications off.

Most communication with your team can be more easily managed from Inbox. Just remember to check it often.

Congratulations! Now you’re ready to have a great work day with Asana.